It was just 5pm but the night had already fallen, casting the world outside into pitch-black darkness. After a freezing February stroll around DUMBO, my mom, dad, and I found ourselves back in my tiny New York studio. It had been nearly four months since we'd seen each other.
We're a small family of three, and our deep conversations always seem to happen during our dinner preparations. Each of us goes about our tasks, setting the table, cooking, assisting in the kitchen, tidying up, selecting a movie for the evening, or scrolling down meme reels on Instagram to share. In the meantime, we chat about life, the important stuff, you know.
On that winter night, our discussion veered from the beginning of humankind to exploring outer space, the influence of technology, ideal forms of government, how humanity might endure climate change, and the origins of evil.
"Well... philosophically speaking..." my dad began, his tone serious as he organized groceries on the kitchen shelves. "My butt crack was showing," he confessed in a manner that was bizarrely calm and unexpected.
I halted my stirring of the chopped purple onions and red peppers in the pan, turning to face him. My mom, sitting on the uncomfortably narrow, synthetic red leather sofa bed while absorbed in her phone, let out a gasp, her green eyes widening in astonishment.
"What?!" both of us exclaimed, our faces mirroring confusion worthy of a meme. His remark was a far cry from our profound exchange.
As if someone had shouted "FREEZE!", my dad began to slowly rise from the ground, like a toddler caught red-handed sneaking chocolates from the cookie jar. He hunched over, his hand lifting the back of his camouflaged cargo shorts, the other hand holding his glasses.
My dad hates those glasses; he can’t see shit from far or close, so the girl employee at the optical shop next to the Supreme Court of Justice in Buenos Aires made him buy a pair with blue frames. Manly. Little he knew they were adorned with yellow and purple flowers. He'd been upset for like two minutes when he arrived home in Buenos Aires that night from the optical shop after work and I pointed out, "Dude, you have lilies on your glasses," and then he was over it. He despises them but still carries them everywhere and uses them 24/7. My dad is one of those baby boomer Argentine men that was raised to eat the whole plate, never leave a crumb behind, and never throw scraps to the trash, so buying a new pair of glasses just because his are “girly”, well, “fuck it.”
"Did you see anything?" he asked, his voice a mix of embarrassment and playfulness in the New York studio.
My mom was choking on her laughter, so I responded for both of us. "Dad, we have no idea what you were up to, and no, we fortunately didn't see your butt crack."
He was finally upright, his cargo shorts secured tightly beneath his brown leather belt, the same one he'd owned since 2003. "Thank God, because I dropped my glasses, so I had to crouch, and my shorts basically fell off."
Those glasses might not befit a typical 58-year-old male lawyer but damn they last.
“Glad they didn’t break, or you would have lost your lilies.”
“Glad you didn’t see my butt crack.”